Toasted Walnut Pesto Aioli Recipe

Toasted walnut pesto aioli is luxuriously creamy and can be used as a vegetable dip, sandwich spread, or meat marinade. It’s a quick and simple walnut pesto recipe that replaces much of the olive oil with olive oil mayonnaise. And, the result is amazingly delicious and healthy.

Mayonnaise is often on the borderline of being just above the glycemic index of 55, however mayonnaise can be low-glycemic if it doesn’t contain added sugars. Make sure to check the label about what’s in your mayonnaise. You can certainly make your own to ensure the highest quality and glycemic index of 0. Since I am watching my sugar intake, I use an olive oil based mayonnaise that is low-glycemic and doesn’t spike my blood sugar.

Walnut Pesto Straight From the Garden

Our garden is starting to finally produce after a longer and colder than normal spring. The basil is finally growing tall and leafy although the leaves look a bit ragged from the less than ideal weather. I planned to make a healthy pesto once the basil had leafed out and this past weekend was the perfect opportunity.

Unfortunately, I realized a little too late that I was running low on olive oil so I decided to substitute olive oil mayonnaise for an impromptu aioli. And since I didn’t have pine nuts, I used walnuts. It’s easy to make pesto without pine nuts, and I suggest toasting the walnuts brought out their rich flavor.

How to Use Walnut Pesto

The weather turned out sunny and hot so I planned to use our barbecue grill to make dinner outside. A package of ground turkey seemed like a good choice for a lighter main course, and I’d been wanting to improve my turkey burger game. You’ll find my turkey burger recipe later this week. The burgers turned out perfect and became even better once I slathered the buns with the walnut pesto aioli.

You could also use the walnut pesto as a vegetable dip or even as a dressing for a pasta salad. I even used leftover walnut pesto aioli tonight to marinate chicken tenders before dredging in a crumb coating and baking in the oven. The garlic and basil give such a punch of flavor to anything they touch.

Walnut Pesto Aioli

Toasted walnuts combine with fresh basil to create a powerfully flavored walnut pesto aioli.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pesto


  • 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency will be thick however you can adjust this by using additional olive oil to thin it out.

How to Toast Walnuts

Toasting walnuts only takes a few minutes and can bring out so much more flavor. I highly recommend toasting walnuts, or almost any nut, before using. To begin, heat a pan over medium heat. I used a cast iron skillet but any pan should work fine.

Add the nuts and shake the pan so they form an even layer. Keep an eye on the pan and use a spoon to move turn the nuts every 20-30 seconds. You’ll begin to see the nuts lightly brown as they become more fragrant from the heat.

If you put your ear near the pan, you can hear a slight sizzle as the oils are released from the nuts. Within a few minutes, they are done. You don’t want them to become dark and you don’t want the pan to smoke. Remove from the pan so they don’t continue to cook in the residual heat. Taste one and see how good it is. Yum!

You can now use the toasted nuts for the walnut pesto recipe. Enjoy!

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